Title: A Slight Misunderstanding
Series: Romancing Aaron Hotchner
Series Order: 4
Fandom: Criminal Minds, NCIS
Pairings: Aaron Hotchner/Tony DiNozzo
Characters: Aaron Hotchner, Tony DiNozzo
Summary: The White Collar division asked Aaron to look over a case they have been following for a while. When Aaron agreed he didn’t want to suspect the one person he trusted most in the world. Even though their relationship was still new, Aaron didn’t want to think what he was about Tony.
Tags: Misunderstandings, Mistrust, Hurt/Comfort, Slight Angst, Emotional Hurt/Comfort, Terrible Fathers
Beta: None. No non-consensual Beta
Aaron was at his office window looking out the window at the storm raging outside. He signed because he had plans with Tony and Jack. A camp out in the backyard with hot dogs, s’mores, and other treats had been planned. Tony was going to set up one of his monitors with a DVD player, and they could watch movies. Now, that would have to be put off.
Aaron was also disturbed by the phone call he had gotten from the white collar crimes unit. It was about a man running a series of cons in the DC, Virginia, North Carolina, Delaware, and New Jersey. The man’s name had been told to him, and Aaron wanted to give Tony the benefit of the doubt. He did not want to jump to conclusions. The last three months had been the best three months of his life, but Aaron also knew just how skilled Tony was at computers. Taking a deep breath, he sipped the scotch he had allowed himself to try to calm the emotions that were raging inside him as violently as the storm outside.
A knock on his door had Aaron slowly turning to see Tony leaning in the doorway like he was want to do. A cup holder in his hand, Aaron wondered if Tony had brought him a London Fog Latte. Something he had become rather fond of for later in the day.
“Tony,” Aaron sighed as he walked over to his boyfriend? Beau? Lover? Aaron wasn’t sure what to call their relationship if there was even one after the night was over.
“What’s wrong?” Tony asked as he handed over one of the cups to Aaron, who took a sip and smiled sadly.
“Close the door and take a seat. I got a call today from White Collar. They want mine and Spencer’s help on a case of theirs. There is a con man they have been chasing for several years now, but the last six months he has been hovering between North Carolina, and up to New Jersey.”
“Okay, something you need my help on?”
Aaron hesitated a moment as he picked up the summary folder of the body of evidence they had against the criminal. For a moment, Aaron thought better of Tony looking in the file, but for him to get answers, Aaron wanted Tony to read it.
“Not exactly. I need you to look over this summary file and let me know your opinion.” Aaron knew Tony was going to be angry with him, but he needed to see and to know that Tony wasn’t involved.
Aaron carefully watched as Tony, with a deep frown on his face, opened the summary report and read through it. Tony slowly closed the file, set it on Aaron’s desk then looked up at him with a look that Aaron had never wanted to see. There was a combination of disappointment, anger, and sadness in those eyes and Aaron braced himself for whatever was going to be said.
“I am going to assume that you wanted me to read that so you could see my reaction. I get it. You’re UC Aaron Hotchner first when in this office. But, do you have to uphold your reputation as a hardass? I thought you understood me better than this.”
“NO!” Tony stood so fast that the chair behind him slid away and almost tipped over. “I can’t even believe that you would consider for even five minutes that I would do these things. You know, you could have come to talk to me. I would have been entirely open and honest with you, but right now I am so fucking angry with you that I don’t even want to look at your face. If you need something have Garcia call me till I can calm down.
“And for your information, Anthony DiNozzo is also the name of my father. If you had done a little digging, you might have learned a little something about the asshole.”
Tony stalked out and slammed the door behind him. Aaron sat back and wiped his face knowing he royally fucked up. Picking up his phone he knew he needed to try to make this right.
“Garcia, I need everything you can find on one Anthony DiNozzo Sr.”
“It’s a case for White Collar they asked my help on. Just, get what you can and bring it to me directly.”
“Absolutely Mon Capitan.”
Aaron didn’t smile like he usually would. He set the phone in its cradle and took the folder back. Aaron had known deep down that Tony wasn’t involved in any of this, but his damn sense of right and wrong had wanted to be sure. He deflated and hoped that he had not made a mess of things.
Putting the situation aside for a moment, Aaron got back to working on things he had been putting off for several weeks. Focused on the work in front of him he almost didn’t register the knock on his door. When he did, he looked up to see that it was Garcia.
“I have that information you wanted.” Garcia held the printouts in her hand for him to take. “I didn’t like doing that. Tony is my boss and my friend.”
“I know, Garcia. I’m sorry, but I’m sure this will be straightened out quickly.”
“If you need anything else.”
Garcia sighed as she turned to leave. Aaron knew how she hated to dig up things on those she cared about, even if it was to exonerate them. Aaron set the stack of papers on his desk, stood and watched the rain come down. He stood there with his hands in his pockets, knowing it was getting late and everyone else had gone home. He knew he should go home as well. It was the Au Pair’s day to watch Jack, but Aaron knew she had classes in the evening. Getting his things together, including the latte he never finished, Aaron started to head home. He would read what Garcia found later that night. He wanted more information before he spoke with Tony and apologized for treating him like a suspect.
When Aaron first arrived home, he checked on his son and noticed that he felt a little warm. Aaron decided to let him rest a little while as he worked on getting dinner ready. He was going to make a light soup and maybe something on the side that wouldn’t be too hard on Jack’s system. Aaron was pleased so far with the Au Pair Desiree, Dizzy for short. She was an exchange student at the local junior college. Dizzy was from Denmark but had always wanted to come to the States to see it for herself. Both Jessica and Jack liked her as well, and Aaron was glad to help lift some of the burdens from Jessica. Aaron finished making the soup and some grilled chicken sliders. Aaron thought about Tony the whole night and still felt horrible about what he had done. He considered calling, but he thought it might be best to let the man cool off for the night before he tried to apologize.
Jack had been fed, bathed, read to and cuddled before he fell asleep enough for Aaron to go to his office and look over the new information Garcia had given him. When he got to the part about Tony being left in a hotel room in Hawaii, Aaron felt even more like an ass. How any father could do that to their child, Aaron didn’t know. Aaron had a lot of making up to do with Tony. He also had to speak with White Collar about all of the information that Garcia had dug up. With it, they could begin a deep investigation into Anthony DiNozzo Senior.
Aaron heard crying through the baby monitor he had on his desk. Grabbing it, he ran up the stairs to Jack’s room. He saw his son curled up on the bed after having been sick.
“Daddy,” Jack cried. “I’m sorry Daddy.”
“Oh, buddy you don’t have to be sorry. Was your tummy upset?”
Jack nodded as fat tears slid down his face. Aaron felt his forehead and could tell Jack was running a fever. He knew Jack hadn’t felt well earlier in the day, but this had come on pretty quickly.
“It’s okay, Buddy. I will never get mad at you if you get sick. Come on, lets clean you up and get you in some fresh pajamas, okay?”
“Okay.” Jack held out his arms, and Aaron quickly stripped his son’s pajama top off him, then picked him up in his arms and held him close. He knew he would have to take something as a preventative if this was the flu. Aaron didn’t want to have to take off work for being sick. Taking Jack to the bathroom lightning lit up the house as the storm picked up and got worse.
Running a bath, Aaron got Jack undressed and grabbed the ear thermometer to check his temperature. When it beeped, Aaron saw that it was 100. High enough to worry, but not high enough to rush to the hospital just yet. After getting Jack settled in his bath chair, he turned off the water, then Aaron checked to see what he had available to help his son. The medicine in Jacks cabinet was expired, which meant Aaron would have to run to the all-night pharmacy in the rain to get his son something to help him.
The bath wasn’t a long one, just enough to get him cleaned up. After settling a now exhausted little boy back in his bed, Aaron woke Dizzy to watch Jack while he ran out for a few moments.
“It is fine Mr. H. I will read in Jack’s room.”
“Thank you, Dizzy. I shouldn’t be too long.”
“That’s what I’m here for, Mr. H. You go do what you need to do.” Dizzy smiled, and Aaron squeezed her shoulder before he left.
Pulling out of the garage, the rain was pouring down obscuring the road and making it difficult to navigate. He had his wipers on full, but they really did nothing to help. Lights were on full, and Aaron made sure he was cautious in his driving. Lightning struck again lighting up the road for a quick second. Aaron could see that it was fairly clear as he continued on to the pharmacy.
Rounding the last corner, there was something in the middle of the road, but Aaron had trouble making it out. He slowed as he approached the curve, but as he took the turn, a car that was wildly out of control came at him too fast for him to get out of the way. He jerked the wheel to try to minimize the impact, but his tires caught something on the road that made him slide forward. Aaron slammed on the brakes as the car continued coming towards him and the next moment he felt the impact, his airbags deployed, but when Aaron tried to look out of the window, he couldn’t make anything out from the raging storm that was still pounding all around him. He was trying to get his seatbelt off, but the impact appeared to have jammed it somehow. He was desperately trying to get out to see what had happened. A man approached the car, gesturing Aaron roll down his window. There was something very off about the accident and the man, but Aaron couldn’t put his finger on it. He wished he had brought his weapon with him.
Aaron felt a little off and surmised that his head had impacted even before the airbags deployed. Wanting to be cautious, but also wanting to know what happened he tried to turn on the car to roll down his windows, but it wouldn’t start. The man was coming closer, the rain getting worse and Aaron’s apprehension was ramping up. Not thinking clearly he opened the door to try to get out, then he knew no more. As he passed out only two names were in his mind, Tony and Jack.
The soft shuffling of feet woke Aaron first. The very low beeping of a machine had him groaning. He knew he was in the hospital. He remembered the accident, but he didn’t remember much else. He tried to look around the room, but he felt sleepy, and he hurt when he tried to move. Groaning he turned his head just slightly and looked down to see a pair of familiar Tom Ford shoes. Tony was there. A hand in his hair, soft words, and a light caress over his face had a rogue tear rolling down his face. All Aaron could think about was Tony was there.
“Shh, go back to sleep, Aaron. You need the rest.”
Aaron tried to talk, but his throat felt dry, and his mouth wouldn’t cooperate.
“Don’t talk yet, just sleep.”
Aaron’s breath hitched before his breathing evened out and he went back to sleep.
The next time Aaron tried to wake up, he was much more successful. This time, though, it wasn’t Tony who was there with him, but Reid. Aaron swallowed and tried not to feel disappointment.
“Welcome back. We got a little worried there for a while. You kept going in and out.”
Aaron swallowed a few times and tried to talk, but his mouth and throat still felt dry. Reid grabbed a cup with some water and stuck a straw in it, then helped use the remote to help him sit up. After a few sips, his throat felt better.
“He was ordered to go get food, some coffee and to sleep. He was here all night, and most of the day even though the nurses tried to throw him out. He was stubborn.”
“How long?” Aaron waved around the room.
“Almost eighteen hours. Look, Tony will explain everything as soon as he gets back. He called me because he didn’t want you to be alone. He went to your place so that he could be there when Jack woke up. Don’t worry I didn’t call the rest of the team. I wanted to find out from you first if and who you wanted here.
“You were lucky Aaron. What were you doing out in that weather.”
“Jack is sick. I think it’s stomach flu. Didn’t have the right medicine.”
“I’ll get the Doctor.” Reid turned around, and Aaron could tell he was upset. Aaron called out to him, and Reid turned around.
“Reid, talk to me.”
“Not yet, Aaron. Not till you’re more coherent. I…you were hurt pretty bad, and it made me reiterate how important you are to me. I’m going to get the Doctor. I’m not having this conversation while you are still out of it.” Reid left, and Aaron didn’t know what to say. He knew his relationship with Reid was closer than subordinate and boss, they had become closer than best friends. Aaron took a deep breath and laid his head back. Those feelings of guilt he carried around too much of reared their ugly head. There was another person close to him he had disappointed and didn’t know what to say to make things better.
“Well, Agent Hotchner it’s nice to see you waking up. Let me just check you over, and I’ll go over your injuries and what you can expect over the next few days.”
Aaron nodded and let the Doctor do what he needed. After the thorough exam, the Doctor pulled over a stool and sat down.
“Your head made an impact against your dash even though your airbags deployed. The impact of the other car was head on, and sometimes there can be a slight delay, but it’s only a mild concussion. You have internal and external bruising from your seatbelt, so you are going to be very sore for the next few days. You have bruising on your ribs, but thankfully nothing is broken. You may feel soreness in your knees and thighs as well. I’m going to give you a prescription for a muscle relaxer, and a very mild sedative to help you sleep. You will probably feel worse tomorrow or the next day, and if anything feels off, please go see your doctor. Sometimes things don’t manifest right away.” The Doctor stood up and laid a gentle hand on Aaron’s shoulder. “You are lucky that was the extent of your injuries. As soon as you are fully awake, I want to get you up and walking, and if everything looks good, I can discharge you in the afternoon. Now, get some rest, and I’ll have a nurse bring in something for you to eat.”
Aaron took a deep breath, which made his chest hurt.
“Thank you, Doctor.”
The Doctor left, the Reid came back in with two cups of coffee.
“Nurse said it’s okay. Just drink it slowly.” Reid handed Aaron one of the cups. When he lifted his arm Aaron knew was going to be painful and sore for a few days. He took the offered cup and sipped at the black brew.
“Not the best, but at least not as bad as police station coffee.”
Aaron chuckled which also made him hurt.
“Fuck, even laughing hurts.”
“You must be hurting, you only ever swear like that when you are hurt or are royally pissed off at a LEO.” Reid plopped down in the chair next to Aaron’s bed.
“I try very hard not to. Need to be professional.” Aaron looked to see that Reid was looking down at his coffee. “Reid?”
Reid looked up and sighed. He set his coffee cup on the sliding tray table in front of him.
“I always wanted a big brother, or any brother really. I knew, though, that Mom couldn’t go through that again, but it didn’t stop this ache inside of me for a sibling. Someone to be there, share the burden, be a friend. It wasn’t till I joined the team that I understood what it was like to have real friends. Sure, I had Ethan, and we got each other through some tough times, but its’ not the same.
“Morgan is the big brother that I have fun with. We tease each other and play pranks sure, but he doesn’t always get me. And, yeah I can’t say that his sometimes dismissive attitude doesn’t bother me, but I’m all too used to it.
“But, you, Hotch. You’re the type of big brother I always wanted. Someone to listen, to understand, and to be there for me. You’ve been all that for me, and dammit, I can’t lose you.” Reid looked down, and Aaron saw he was trying to hide the tears that were falling. Aaron reached over and gently wiped one away.
“I ah, I’m going to go for a walk.”
Aaron tried to call him back, but he knew the younger man was overwhelmed and needed a few minutes to himself. Aaron knew they were close, but he didn’t know Reid saw him that way and it was one more thing piled onto other things that made his guilt worse. Aaron reached for his coffee and groaned in pain. The next few days were not going to be fun.
“I don’t think I need to ask how you’re feeling.” Tony stood leaning in the doorway. Aaron was currently the only patient in a double occupancy room. He was happy for that because it meant he and Tony could talk without a nosy neighbor.
“Tony.” Aaron set the coffee down, he didn’t think he could drink any at the moment. His stomach was in knots as he watched the man he was slowly falling for walk more into the room. “I’m sorry, Tony. I’m so sorry. I should have trusted you. I should have come to you first and not jumped to conclusions.”
Tony moved all the way in the room and sat down on the chair Reid had vacated just moments before.
“And I should have told you about my father weeks ago, but I just didn’t know how. The man is a con artist and a bastard. I don’t want anything to do with him, but he just keeps coming back into my life ruining things between people I care about. I hope you won’t be fooled by him when you finally meet the asshole.”
Aaron chuckled then winced.
“Do you know what happened? My memory is a little fuzzy.”
“Dizzy told me that you needed to go get medicine for Jack, that he had been sick all night. The storm was pretty bad. From what the investigator could make out you were taking the curve at a fairly moderate rate as there were no skid marks from your vehicle. The other vehicle hit your car head-on.” Tony stood up and started pacing around the floor. “I don’t know if it was fate or happenstance, but an off-duty police officer was coming home from the store that you were most likely going to. He saw the accident, stopped and saw a man at your door.
“Aaron, that man was pointing a gun at you. The officer called for backup and immediately arrested the perpetrator. You had passed out, most likely from the adrenaline and the head injury. The ambulance brought you here. The officer noticed your badge, and you had your phone unlocked. He called the first number, which was mine.
“My father is being held on attempted murder charges, and whatever you did, whatever searches came up, they are reopening the investigation regarding my mother’s death. And, White Collar is closing in on the scams.”
“Garcia did some digging. I read the things she found and flagged White Collar. Tony, I can’t imagine what you went through growing up. When I read about Hawaii, that hit home to me that you would never be involved in these things and I should have trusted you.”
Tony was pacing and looked wrecked. Aaron wished he could get out of bed and pull him into his arms. But, he sensed there was something Tony wasn’t telling him.
“Tony? What aren’t you telling me?”
“Whatever you did, whatever you triggered, it alerted my father. Aaron, my father, did this. He hunted you down, and he tried to kill you.”
“I know fathers hate me, but isn’t that going a little too far?” Aaron raised his brow, and Tony stopped mid-stride to look over at him.
“You,” Tony sighed in frustration as he shook his head. Rushing forward a half-second later Aaron was being kissed to within an inch of his life. “Don’t joke like that!. He almost killed you, Aaron. I would never be the same if I lost you, and Jack? Shit, Aaron, Jack adores you and that little boy would be devastated if you were gone.”
“Tony.” Aaron’s voice hitched with the emotions crashing all around inside him. “I’m sorry I joked. Come here.” Aaron moved over on the bed that was frankly too small for the two men, but he didn’t care. Even feeling as terrible as he felt, he needed to have Tony in his arms. He hated admitting that he had been scared. Out there in that situation reminded him how vulnerable he could be.
Tony curled up on the bed next to Aaron and laid his hand on Aaron’s stomach.
“I never meant to hurt you. I don’t think I’d ever be the same if I lost you, Tony. I know it’s only been three months, but you’ve come to mean everything to me. I don’t know what I’m ready to admit to when it comes to my feelings, but I can’t lose you. I want more, but I don’t even know what that is yet. I’ve been hurt so many times in the past that I let emotions and snap judgments cloud my instincts. I don’t ever want to do that to you. Not ever again.”
Aaron felt Tony letting out a deep breath as he snuggled up closer to Aaron.
“This was just a hiccup, Aaron. It will pass, and we will move on. I care too much for you to let this go. Just, all I ask is that you trust me.”
“I can do that.” Aaron held Tony closer to him and let himself relax down more on the hospital bed. They would get through this hiccup and Aaron would learn to trust again.